Big Toe Pose - Padangusthasana

The Big Toe Pose or the Padangusthasana is one of the easier poses in yoga. Most yoga practitioners will learn how to do this pose in the early practices and sessions of yoga.

It is one of the few poses that will help you to stretch all your muscles from head to toe.


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Steps :

  1. The first step is to stand upright with your feet parallel to each other. The feet should be at least six inches apart. Your legs also need to be straight.
  2. Now contract your thigh muscles, which will lift your knee caps outward.
  3. Keep your legs straight as you now bend forward with an aim of touching your forehead to your knee. Your torso and head should move together.
  4. Once you are in this position, grip your big toes with fingers of each foot. Grip your toes firmly with your fingers.
  5. Then press your toes into your hand. If you are not able to catch your toes with changing your posture, you can also use a band or a strap to hook under your toes and hold that instead.
  6. Now, as you inhale, lift your torso and straighten your elbows.
  7. Do this for as high as you can without stressing any other part like your neck for instance.
  8. Exhale when you release your torso and bend towards your toes again. Do this repeatedly.
  9. Straighten as if going back to the starting position but holding your toes. Do this cycle of inhalation and exhalation a few times, increasing the stretch of the torso every time you stretch.
  10. Come back to the starting position by slowly releasing the band and straightening up.

Precautions :

  • Like any yoga asana or pose and for any beginner it is important to know the limits of your own body.
  • If while doing any asana at any point of time, you feel any awkward pain or pull, it makes sense to stop doing it.
  • Most beginners should start yoga in the presence of a trained instructor.
  • That way they not only learn the correct way of the pose but can immediately seek relief should there be any pain.
  • If you have any lower back or neck injuries or pain, this pose is not advisable.
  • If you have weak ankles, you should not do the advanced versions of the big toe pose.

Beginner’s Tip :

A beginner’s tip for big toe pose includes the all-important strap. This strap or band will make it easier for you to do the pose the first few times. As your body becomes limber it will become easier for you to catch your toes.

Benefits to Body Parts :

  • The asana improves flexibility as you stretch from head to toe, even giving your spine a good stretch.
  • This asana is known to regulate blood pressure and anxiety while calming the person down.
  • Stretching in this pose increases the blood flow to the brain, improving the concentration and retention power.

    This enables you to work better and more efficiently.
  • As this pose helps you stretch your thigh muscles, hamstrings, calf muscles along with the back, lower back and your arms, it helps all muscles burn fat while increasing their density with the inhaling and exhaling.
  • This exercise even relieves you of that bloated feelings and any excess gas you may have trapped inside.
  • If women are trying to conceive, this pose is a good one as it stretches all muscles.
  • This pose also helps with the incidence of flat feet. It is also important that your muscles feel stretched but not worn.
  • This pose helps tired muscles to feel rejuvenated.

Therapeutic Applications :

  • It helps in massaging your liver and spleen.
  • It also strengthens the knees.
  • Like most poses in yoga, this asana too aims to balance the body and mind.
  • It is used to cure and remedy problems like high blood pressure or hypertension. This pose is great to strengthen your legs and make your spine stronger.
  • This pose is recommended also for people who may have a potential of or suffer from osteoporosis. It is a pose that will even strengthen your bones.
  • This pose is also known to relieve headaches and insomnia.

Variations :

  • The reclining big toe pose or Sputa Padangusthasana and
  • The raised hand big toe pose or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.
  • In the reclining big toe pose, you lie down flat on the floor. Hold your toes with the help of strap and slowly raise your leg to a 90 degree angle to the body.
  • Pull the strap and as you exert and stretch all the muscles in that leg. Do this with both legs. It is a good way to gradually start doing Padangusthasana.
  • In the raised hand version, you hold your toes with one hand and while you stretch, you raise the other hand.
  • When you start doing this initially, you could use a chair for support instead of doing the pose freehand. This is a relatively advanced version and should be done only after you are well-versed with the other two types.
  • There is also the Ubhaya Padangusthasana or the V shaped pose. This stretches the legs and spine while sitting on the floor. This pose can also be done in different forms depending on the comfort level and flexibility achieved. There are different variations to this pose too depending on which style of yoga you follow.

Preparatory Poses :

Follow Up Poses :

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